Executive Team

The CEO, along with the Executive Team, oversees the day-to-day operations of WDBA in accordance with the Board’s direction

Mr. van Niekerk recently held the position of Executive Vice President – Transportation at Infrastructure Ontario and brings a wealth of experience in infrastructure planning and delivery, asset management, and operational management in the public and private sectors.  

Over the past 9 years at Infrastructure Ontario, Mr. van Niekerk has gained significant experience overseeing the delivery of complex provincial highway, subway, and rail projects, including the successful delivery of the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway that connects to the Gordie Howe International Bridge. Globally, he has an extensive leadership background in the construction, operations, and engineering industry. 

Mr. van Niekerk holds a Bachelor in Civil Engineering from the University of Pretoria and a Master in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa. 

Carolyn Brown is a transportation professional with extensive experience working in public-private partnership arrangements. Carolyn has an international level of understanding of the toll and traffic industry, having worked in Canada and in the United States. Her background in cross border operations includes the delivery of major infrastructure projects, the commissioning of assets for public operation and successful stakeholder engagement.

Carolyn currently serves on the Board of Governors of the University of Windsor as its Vice Chair, and holds a Master of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration, both from the University of Windsor.

Heather Grondin has 20 years of experience, specializing in strategic planning, communications and engagement. As part of diverse public-sector teams working on high-profile projects and portfolios, Heather’s consistent goal has been to build meaningful relationships based on trust, openness and understanding. Holding the executive position of Chief Relations Officer at Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) since 2015, Heather leads an integrated team of professionals who inform, inspire and interact with others in support of WDBA and the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

Grant Hilbers has more than 25 years of experience in the design, construction, and start-up of large infrastructure projects and management of complex environmental compliance programs. He has held a variety of roles in consulting, private enterprise, and government entities in both Canada and the United States. He is a Professional Engineer who holds a Masters in Environmental Engineering from the University of Windsor and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Grant values professional development and, to that end, has held leadership roles in a number of technical organizations and routinely participates in public speaking engagements

Joël Hupé is a finance and accounting professional with 20 years of experience across a variety of sectors in both the public and private domains such as Telesat Canada, the House of Commons, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and most recently the Standards Council of Canada. Over this time, he has overseen the full range of financial management services including financial advisory services, comptrollership, accounting operations and treasury. He also has significant experience leading policy development, corporate planning, performance reporting, risk management, and the contracting and procurement functions. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant, a member of the Law Society of Ontario and, also holds an MBA from the Telfer School of Management. 

Fixed on continual improvement and on facilitating data and insight-driven decision making, Joël’s focus is on providing a partnership orientation such that frontline operations have a line of sight into what resourcing considerations they need to make to deliver on performance commitments while managing their risk.

Zaher Yousif, M.Sc., P.Eng., P.E. is a Structural Engineer with 30 years of experience specializing in the field of Bridge Engineering. Zaher has worked extensively in roadway and highway bridge planning, design, P3 project management, light rail and pedestrian bridges, contract administration and rehabilitation planning. During the course of his career, he has been involved in bridge structures using cast-in-place post tensioning box and precast concrete and steel girders. Zaher has been integral to the delivery of large and complex highway projects using the design-build and P3 model of delivery including the East Calgary ring road functional plan, Stoney Trail and Nose Hill Drive, Stoney / Macleod trail, Balzac interchanges, Northeast Stoney trail P3, Northwest Anthony Handy P3, Northeast Anthony Henday P3 and Circle Drive DB. He also participated in the procurement stage for Southeast Stoney trail P3, West LRT DB, Regina Bypass P3 and North Commuter Parkway P3.